Trailblazing graduates recognised in 2020 UTS Alumni Awards
UTS reveals this year’s stellar line-up of Alumni Award recipients, including everyone’s favourite Yellow Wiggle Emma Watkins, community and business leader George Savvides AM, Indigenous employment advocate Phillipa McDermott, and pioneering science researcher Professor Darren Martin.
The biggest impact our University has is supporting the dreams and aspirations of our students who then become our alumni and those alumni go out and make the world truly a better place.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is when I get to talk to alumni both here and right around the world in terms of the incredible things they are doing.
Here on the phone today we have people all the way from media to architecture, from teaching, entertaining children, to scientific research. Many of our graduates are breaking down barriers, particularly in this COVID period, trying to tackle some of the obstructions to our society.
All of our alumni, and particularly those of you on the call today, all of you, you are beacons. You represent a diverse and global alumni community, but you are beacons for all of our students, and that's why it's so important to hear your stories.
So without further ado, it is now my great pleasure to welcome you all into the game-changing group of UTS Alumni Award recipients. Congratulations.
So, first of all, a very warm welcome to our Community Award winner, Geoff! Congratulations Geoff.
Phillipa, our Indigenous Australian Award winner! Thank you, Phillipa.
Madhavi, our International Award winner!
Emma, aka the Yellow Wiggle, our Young Alumni Award winner!
Mayrah, our Arts and Social Sciences Award winner!
George, our Business Award winner!
Angelo, our Design, Architecture and Building winner!
Lulu, our Health Award winner!
Dominic, our Law Award winner!
And last, but by certainly no means least, Darren, our Science Award recipient!
Congratulations, thank you. And thank you for being an inspiration to everybody.
For the first time in the twelve-year history of the UTS Alumni Awards, the winners’ announcement went digital last week, with Vice-Chancellor Attila Brungs and the 11 award recipients celebrating at a socially safe distance via Zoom.
The UTS Alumni Awards recognise our most outstanding graduates – our game-changers and trailblazers, innovators and pioneers. Every year a winner is selected from each faculty, in addition to four standout alumni who represent our Young, Indigenous, International and Community achievers.
These inspiring graduates epitomise the immense depth of talent within the UTS alumni community – high achievers who are not only professionally distinguished in their fields but driven by a desire to create a lasting impact in the world.
Among the alumni recognised in 2020 are recently appointed SBS Chair George Savvides AM, a highly regarded healthcare industry executive known for leading Medibank Private and Sigma Pharmaceuticals as well as his dedication to the community – undertaking 18 years of volunteer service as the Chairman of World Vision Australia, among many other charity roles.
Australia’s first female Wiggle Emma Watkins, who has used her platform to advocate for sign language in all video and live performances, is the 2020 UTS Young Alumni Award winner. In addition to her work entertaining children all over the world, Emma is an ambassador for UNICEF and Endometriosis Australia.
Also honoured are Dominic Woolrych and Madhavi Shankar, innovators who are using technology to reshape their respective fields. Dominic is the CEO of start-up Law Path, a cloud-based platform providing Australian businesses and individuals with access to legal services at a fraction of the time, cost and complexity of the traditional system. Madhavi is co-founder and CEO of start-up SpaceBasic Inc., India’s first interactive networking platform for student housing and co-living communities, created in response to the proliferation of gender-based violence within student housing communities in her home country.
Artificial Intelligence and analytics industry pioneer Dr Paul Beinat, whose work has revolutionised the process of third-party claims in the insurance industry, and Professor Darren Martin, a global leader in the development of safe and renewable biomaterials and nanomaterials, were bestowed with the Engineering & IT and Science awards respectively.
The awards also recognise the work of powerhouse business and community leader Mayrah Sonter, a proud Wiradjuri woman, TV host and media specialist whose career has been driven by the desire to create visible, positive role models for Indigenous people. Another outstanding advocate is Community Award winner Geoffrey McNamara AM, a passionate champion for science and public-school education, and the facilitator of brilliant initiatives connecting students with scientific mentors.
Wakka Wakka/Mulinjali woman and ABC Head of Indigenous Employment and Diversity, Phillipa McDermott, has been recognised for her work as a media industry leader and Indigenous employment advocate. And internationally acclaimed architect Angelo Candalepas can now add UTS Alumni Award winner to the many accolades he has garnered throughout his 28-year career, including the Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture and the Premier’s Award for Architecture.
Rounding out the line-up of gaming-changing graduates is Associate Professor Leanne (Lulu) Zalapa. A former nurse and founder of the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation, during her 16 years as CEO of the foundation Lulu helped raise approximately $50 million for research, infrastructure equipment, patient care and professional development for health staff.
One of these 11 award recipients will also be honoured with the prestigious UTS Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, which will be revealed in late September.
Everything is Aluminated
This year UTS is proud to announce a brand-new initiative: the UTS Aluminated webinar series, in-conversation events with the 2020 UTS Alumni Award winners. Attendees are invited to learn more about these outstanding graduates – their career trajectories, obstacles they’ve faced and challenges they’ve overcome along the way to success, the causes they champion, and what makes them tick.
Upcoming events include:
|UTS Aluminated with Professor Darren Martin and Dr Paul Beinat||UTS Aluminated with Geoffrey McNamara AM||UTS Aluminated with Emma Watkins|
Friday 14th August
Tuesday 18 August
Thursday 20 August
Details of more UTS Aluminated webinars are to come. For the full list of events, visit our events page.
Meet your winners
- Arts and Social Sciences Award Mayrah Sonter
Master of Arts (Journalism), 2012; Bachelor of Communications, 2005
- Community Alumni Award Geoffrey McNamara AM
Graduate Certificate in Design Tech, 2000; Diploma of Teaching in Technical Education, 1989; Bachelor of Adult Education, 1997
- Design, Architecture and Building Award Angelo Candalepas
Bachelor of Architecture, 1992
- Engineering and Information Technology Award Dr Paul Beinat
PhD Computing Sciences, 2008
- Indigenous Australian Alumni Award Phillipa McDermott
Bachelor of Arts (Communication), 1998
- International Alumni Award Madhavi Shankar
Master of Business Administration, 2015; Master of Engineering Management, 2014
- Health Award Associate Professor Leanne (Lulu) Zalapa
Bachelor of Nursing, 1993
- Law Award Dominic Woolrych
Juris Doctor, 2012; Bachelor of Business, 2009
- Science Award Professor Darren Martin
PhD Science, 1996; Bachelor of Applied Science (Materials Science), 1993
- UTS Business School Award George Savvides AM
Master of Business Administration, 1985
- Young Alumni Award Emma Watkins
Master of Media Arts Production, 2012